LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 19:  A single cup gourmet brewer by Keurig is part the merchandise in the Grammy Gift Bag by Distictive Assets previewed on January 19, 2006 in Los Angeles, California. The 48th Annual Grammy Awards will be held February 8th in Los Angeles. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Getty Images)
Food - Drink
Single-Serve Coffee Didn't Begin With Keurig
In 2020, over 33 million American households owned a Keurig machine, and the brand owns the largest market share for pod-based coffee makers that brew a single cup of a hot drink with the press of a button. However, Keurig didn't invent single-serving coffee, and the first coffee pods predate the company by about 20 years.
Single-serve pour over coffee came onto the scene in America during the 1970s, and in the 1980s and 1990s, coffee bags — which are like teabags, but with coffee — became popular. Also in the 1990s, single-serve coffee pods hit the market thanks to Nespresso, and their coffee machines saw competition from other companies.
Green Mountain Coffee Roasters launched Keurig in response to Nespresso's success, eventually surpassing the original coffee pod peddlers with their own machines and K-pods. Prior to coffee pod machines, perhaps the fastest coffee maker was the 1970s-era Sunbeam Hot Shot, which could brew a cup in 90 seconds.